Cherries new boy Steven Gregory last night revealed how fears his professional career was over had increased his desire to earn his League One chance.

The central midfielder yesterday signed a two-year deal with Cherries after the Dean Court outfit agreed an undisclosed fee with League Two new boys AFC Wimbledon.

Gregory’s capture ended Cherries’ long pursuit of the 24-year-old. They had seen two initial offers rejected by the Dons before a third bid, believed to be in the region of £55,000, was accepted.

Oxfordshire-raised Gregory is now determined to reward Lee Bradbury’s persistence – and make up for lost time in the league.

The former semi-professional star admitted he thought his chances of playing in the pro ranks were over when he was released by Wycombe Wanderers, where he served his apprenticeship and made his senior debut.

But having battled back and climbed the ladder with Hayes and Yeading and then AFC Wimbledon, he has a strong determination to shine for Cherries in League One.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Gregory said: “I was 21 when Wycombe released me and I did a personal training course and I thought that was the end of me as a professional.

“It is difficult to get back into it. I went to Hayes and Yeading and started working full-time in the gym.

“I decided I wanted to give football another go so I quit the gym full-time but continued to work part-time as a personal trainer. I concentrated a lot on the football and, hopefully, it will pay off at Bournemouth.

“I have been given my chance. I am really hungry to do well and Lee Bradbury has recognised that.

“He has been magnificent. There have been a few difficulties in the past week but he has been persistent to get me.

“I can only repay him by doing what I can on the pitch. I can say ‘thank you’ but it doesn’t mean anything unless I perform, so that is what I am aiming to do.”

Gregory revealed he had been “very excited” when he heard of Cherries’ interest.

He added: “I had a great campaign last season with AFC Wimbledon and we got promoted. But when I heard about Bournemouth – and I know how ambitious they are and the football they play – it was an easy decision for me.

“I have spoken to people who know the manager and the set-up and have said how good it is. It will be a great opportunity for me and it was an easy decision.”

Gregory became Cherries’ second summer signing after boss Bradbury landed experienced goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan earlier this week.